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Somalia: Puntland electoral commission unveils strategic plan

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

GAROWE, Puntland - Political parties in Somalia's northeastern Puntland state have until 15th December 2019 to start formal registration with the electoral body, it has emerged, Garowe Online reports.

Interim electoral Commission chairman Guled Bare on Saturday said his team is ready to roll out the exercise as part of the democratization process in the Federal State.

The commission, Bare said, will be strictly guided by the rule of law, adding that the process will be "free fair and transparent".

"I want to confirm that we shall roll out formal registration of political parties from December 15th. All political parties are welcome to register," he said in a statement.

Guled added: "This is part of the democratisation of our electoral system. It will be credible as part of our strategic plan."

Municipality elections, the Commission said, will be held within the next two years across the state, the electoral body said on Saturday in Garowe.

The interim body is under pressure to restore confidence in the electoral team which had previously suffered from allegations of opaqueness and rigging.

Puntland lawmakers approved the commission which constitutes of nine members. Two of the team members were appointed in August this year.

The commission is expected to do better than previous teams given that its appointment comes to a couple of months before the end of President Said Deni's term.

It's through Deni that the autonomous region first constituted the electoral team during his first term in office, a milestone in the history of the state.

The chairman insisted that "we shall ensure every player is satisfied with our work. Nobody will compromise my team, not during my time."

Since gaining autonomy from Somalia two decades ago, Puntland is yet to hold "one man one vote" polls. Parliament which is selected by traditional elders picks the president.

Interestingly, Somalia is also in the process of implementing 'one man one vote' electoral model which is being championed by the United Nations.

James Swan, the United Nations [UN] envoy to Somalia, has been holding shuttle diplomatic meetings with a host of leaders across all states, pushing for the model.

However, a section of opposition leaders led by Wadajir party leader Abdirahman Abdishakur has raised concerns about the plans, arguing that the move could lead to an unprecedented delay of polls in 2020.

Puntland, despite some periods of inter-clan animosity and the threat of ISIS-Somalia, is one of the most stable states which enjoys considerable democracy.


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